Geekly Update - 17 June 2020

Category: Tech-News

What is the source of those loud, repeating radio bursts pinging Planet Earth lately? Are COVID-19 contact tracing apps being used by governments as mass surveillance tools? Will a robo-dog be patrolling your yard any time soon? And can doctors legally prescribe video games as treatment for kids with attention deficit disorder? Get answers in today's Geekly Update -- it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and, comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

If you've always wanted a dog, but can't deal with all the vacuuming, walking, and poop-scooping duties that come along with a canine companion, Boston Dynamics has a deal for you. You can have your own Spot robot dog for the low, low price of $74,500 (USD). On the downside, limit 2 per customer, and they can’t climb a ladder or swim.

Repeating radio signals from space being detected by telescopes are nothing new. But a newly discovered fast radio burst from far off in the cosmos has been detected in regular 16-day cycles. Astronomers theorize the source may be a neutron star with a powerful magnetic field, or... something... else.

This just in from the "We Knew This Would Happen, But We Didn't Think It Would Be This Funny" Department: Some countries in the Persian Gulf are using COVID-19 contact tracing apps as mass surveillance tools. These apps are supposed to rely on short-range Bluetooth signals, but one study found three apps that collected satellite location data, matched users with their real identities, and made them unwitting contestants on a televised game show.

"Constant connections on services like Facebook and Instagram can amplify our isolation in unexpected ways," say CNet editors. Technology, and social media in particular can make us feel more alone than ever. I'm pretty sure that's the opposite of the expected result of "social" media.

Geekly Update 06-17-2020

Chromebooks are popular for web surfing, email and other web-based apps. But their major shortcoming has always been lack of support for Windows programs. That problem will be solved soon, as Google is promising the ability run Microsoft Office and other Windows apps on Chromebooks. Google is partnering with Parallels to enable Office and other Windows applications to run natively on Chromebooks.

Verizon is offering some new student discounts on unlimited plans. College students can save $10 on one line, or $25 on two lines.

The FDA just approved a new treatment for kids with ADHD, and it doesn't come in pill form. EndeavorRX, a video game by Akili Interactive is the first video game that can be legally be prescribed as medicine to help treat Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Amazon has been criticized for not doing enough to protect warehouse workers during the pandemic. Now they are rolling out "AI distance assistants" to notify workers if they're not using social distancing while moving about. AI-enabled cameras will track employee movements and display red circles around their feet on a TV screen, when they are less than six feet apart.

Email service Hey, which focuses on keeping unwanted messages out of your inbox, is selling two-letter email addresses for $999 a year. If that's too rich for your taste, you can nab a three-letter one for $375 a year. Four-letter words are free, just like always.

A new iPhone shortcut makes it easy to record police during a traffic stop. Just say ‘Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over’ and your iPhone will start recording. A free shortcut enables this function.

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome! Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 17 June 2020"

Posted by:

Kenneth Mitchell
18 Jun 2020

A video game as a treatment for ADHD? OK, but not new; about 15 years ago, my GP doctor "prescribed", or at least recommended, that I play World of Wacraft as a stress-reducer.

And it worked.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 17 June 2020 (Posted: 17 Jun 2020)
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